Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pick a Parsha: Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11–34:35

Parasha Ki Tisa Framed Art

By Artist Michal Meron
I've sort of fallen off of the Pick a Parsha bandwagon, so I'd like to remedy that right now.  No, I haven't given you all a chance to read along with me, but when I got this in my inbox, I couldn't help but think about the parenting implications behind the story of the golden calf.

Go ahead and read the commentary, I'll wait....

Okay, do you see what I see?  Or at least what this commentary suggests to me.  When we go and fine the actual parsha here,  we start with the making of the temple space, and provisions for who does what, etc.  So many commentaries focus on which one happened first.  I think, as a modern reader of modern literature, we can take the writing and place it in it's proper context.  First we are with G-d and Moses, up on the mountain.  The author takes us through their conversation, since it is taking place with Moses right now.

Then we move back down the mountain to the people.  They have no idea of what G-d and Moses are talking about.  They are worried about where Moses is.  So, they turn to what they know, as the commentary tells us.  They were used to rule under Pharaoh, who is like a G-d.  They took what was in front of them, Moses, and made him like a G-d as well.  When he disappears, they need something to replace him.

So what is the story of parenting that I see so clearly.  I hope that many of us see the moral of leading and following. Certainly we wish that out children could have acted differently, gone away from the 'mob mentality' and stayed true to G-d.  And that is a good moral.  The one I see has more to do with how we deal with our children.

When our children are newborns we are their world.  Our newborns need so little more than us.  One could argue they need nothing more than the love and comfort of their parents.  We give them so much that it takes them several months to realize that they are truly separate and independent human beings. 

So when I read Ki Tisa, I see that these 'children' are so dependent on an adult authority figure that in the absence of the 'parent' they can't see clearly to the right decision.  In the world of helicopter parenting today, it can be so easy to create a child who depends upon us. 

This weekend EG got a Little Tykes climbing toy with a slide.  The ladder up to it is hard for her to understand, and she constantly yelled 'help, help.'  But my job as a parent isn't just to pick her up and put her next to the slide.  It's to create an independent adult who, in my absence, can climb the ladder herself. 

So it's true about all our parenting.  Our ending goal is to create children who can independently sort through right and wrong, understand their surroundings, cope and adapt.  Otherwise, we risk having our children cling to whats around them.  And perhaps for us, it won't be the High Priest Aaron.  It will be the drugs, or the gangs or who knows what else.

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